I’ve had a lot of questions about my sexuality recently. A reader informed me they thought one of my previous editorials was a coming-out piece. When I sit next to a male friend in seminars, people give me winks that say, ‘go get him, boy’. A person I met for the first time inquired in conversation whether I had a girlfriend, ‘or perhaps a boyfriend?’ My lecturer looks at me with twinkling persistence when he mentions the devil’s arse in Chaucer, and someone asked me suggestively if I knew there was a film about a gay man called Maurice.

While I was pondering how best to respond, I came across two quotes which I trust will benefit all those fascinated by humankind’s many faces. One is from Penda’s Fen, a television play from 1974, apparently: ‘I am woman and man, light with darkness, nothing pure! I am mud and flame!’ The other is from Prince: ‘Sexuality, is all you ever need, sexuality, let your body be free.’

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